How to care for your pregnant bitch

Looking after Luna

When I recently asked for topics to write about on this site, someone suggested I talk about caring for a pregnant bitch.  Good idea, except that when I initially thought about what to write, I felt that I don’t really do anything to take care of my dogs when they are pregnant.

After further consideration though, I realised that of course I do a great deal to care for them.  First of all, they must be fit and healthy.  The Kennel club provides some great information for you to download, including Breeding from your dog.  This is a handy summary, including the following points:

  • Responsible breeders believe that each new litter they breed should be an improvement on the parents and the breed
  • Responsible breeders give careful consideration to health issues, temperament and the look of the dog
  • Responsible breeders plan ahead of each mating to ensure that each puppy produced will be bred in the best possible environment
  • Responsible breeders accept responsibility for a puppy which they have bred, and make themselves available to give advice, help and information to new owners.

Puppy Registration

In order to register your puppies with the Kennel Club, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Have no more than four litters from any one dog
  • The dam to be no less than a year old at the time of mating
  • The dam to have not reached the age of 8 years at the time of whelping
  • The offspring must not be the result of any mating between father and daughter, mother and son, or brother and sister
  • The dam not to have already had two litters by caesarean section.

Health during pregnancy

As I’ve said, I don’t really do much differently for my pregnant bitches – but that is because I already take extremely good care of my dogs!  I am with them almost all day every day, so I am always aware of any slight health issues.  I pay attention to what they are eating and drinking and I manage their diets pretty carefully.  They are fed top quality food.

One of the hilarious things I have found with all my girls during pregnancy, is that they get to about five weeks into pregnancy and I suddenly find them at my elbow at lunchtime, asking for ‘perhaps a little smackeral of something?’ It is quite clear that they need a bit more food than normal. Little and often is the key – there’s no point me feeding them bigger meals when they are full of puppies!

Worming

From day 40 of the pregnancy, you should worm your dog with a small dose of wormer, such as Panacur, which you can obtain from your vet.  It’s a liquid and dogs don’t really mind it too much, so you can just add to their food.   This will help to ensure that the pups are born worm free.  Of course you still need to follow a worming regime for the pups, which is usually at two, five and eight weeks.  Thankfully I have never seen any evidence of worms in any of my pups.

As we get towards the end of the 63 day pregnancy, I try to ensure that I keep the bitch with me at all times.  They sleep in the bedroom and are rarely out of my sight.  I find myself ‘nesting’ – preparing the whelping box and making sure I have all the equipment I will need to hand.  It’s an exciting time.

Exercise

I carry on walking my dogs as normal, right up until they give birth.  After all, I worked until a week before I had my first son, and was wallpapering ten days after my second was due to arrive!  They clearly go at their own pace, with Fatty-boo-boo (Luna) not exactly racing around, bless her!  I usually find that they stay with the pups for the first day, but want to come out as normal on the second day after the birth.  Again, I was up and about the day I gave birth to Jamie, so that’s fine with me.  As always, I am guided by the bitch and what they tell me they want to do.

When the bitch goes into labour, I know straight away.  We then drop everything and sit quietly, waiting, sometimes for 24 hours!  But that’s a story for another day…

Please CONTACT ME if you would like to know more about my dogs or my puppies.

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